I had the pleasure of being involved in the management of the land in the town of Moreau recently purchased from Finch Timberlands by the Open Space Institute (OSI). This land, called the Smith Farm, was used for agriculture until about 1914. Photos from that period show "pristine" farm land, not forest.
The soils are sandy and over time could not sustain agriculture. Pine, oak, aspen and other trees quickly reclaimed the property, resulting in a forest of trees, all about the same age. These tree species were adapted to well-drained soils and relished the sunlight open fields provided.
One hundred years later the trees were mature and ready for harvest. Sustainable harvesting started at the turn of this century with a goal of starting a new pine, oak and aspen forest. Harvests began about 1998, well before the sale to OSI. Periodic harvests over the years allowed sunlight to reach the forest floor and a new forest to establish. Most recently, trees which provided the seeds for the new forest were removed. Today, the new forest is young and "pristine."
The moral of this history is forests can be young or old. Both forest types provide needed habitat for many species. Animals I have seen on this property include deer, muskrats, beaver, otter, bobcats, herons, coyotes, bluebirds and many others. It is truly a remarkable property with roads and trails that provide recreation and wildlife viewing opportunities beyond imagination.
Some may not appreciate the young forest as much as the old. It is inaccurate, however, to call the property "deforested." It is not. The $1.4 million paid for the property reflects the value of the new forest, river shoreline and unique habitat, and I can attest personally, it's truly a bargain.
Roger Dziengeleski, Retired Forester, Glens Falls